Plenty of familiar faces back for Archbishop Murphy | Football

By David Pan | Aug 02, 2019
Photo by: D. Robert Pan Senior Victor Gabalis returns to lead the Wildcats’ offense.

Archbishop Murphy’s interim head football coach Mark Leone has deep ties to the school.

Leone, a 2006 graduate, played under legendary coach Terry Ennis, whose name dons the stadium at Archbishop Murphy High School. Leone has coached off and on at the school, including in 2016 when the Wildcats won their third state championship under former head coach Jerry Jensen. Leone was named the interim coach this spring. Jensen is the school’s athletic director and Leone is an associate athletic director.

Last season Leone was the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator and previously he coached the wide receivers.

Having all of Jensen’s entire staff back has aided the transition.

“The whole coaching staff has remained the same,” Leone said. “There are not much changes to what we do.”

Leone said that he considers Jensen a mentor and that he’s been a great asset.

“I had the pleasure of learning from him,” Leone said.

Like the coaching staff, the Wildcats are going to be putting out a lot of familiar faces on the field this fall.

Senior quarterback Victor Gabalis returns to lead the offense but opponents will be seeing even more of Gabalis, as he also will be playing defense for the first time in his career. The plan is for him to be at free safety.

“We want to get our best 11 on the field as much as possible,” Leone said. “He’s a great athlete. He wanted to do it. One of the great things about Victor is that he’s always looking to find a way to help the team. He wants to do anything to help us out.”

The Wildcats have plenty of talent and options at running back with seniors Mason Mathis and Josiah Santiago and junior Joe Ennis. Senior tight ends Josh McCarron and Jack Barnes are two big targets for Gabalis.

“We want to be versatile,” Leone said. “One of the strengths is our backfield. I think they are versatile.

Archbishop Murphy traditionally has had a strong offensive line and this year appears to be more of the same.

Senior Zion Robinson, a three-year starter, is joined by junior Daniel Jenkins, junior Marc Galvagno and junior Christian Hanna.

“We have a mix – a couple of returning starters and some young guys,” Leone said,

The Wildcats should know fairly early on what kind of team they have as three of their first four games are against 2A playoff teams – Eatonville (Sept. 6), defending champion Hockinson (Sept. 13) and state runner-up Lynden (Sept. 27). The fourth opponent is 3A Cleveland (Sept. 20).

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